Hanoi (VNS/VNA) – The Australian-funded Gender Responsive Equitable
Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) programme hosted a symposium, Engaging Women in
Markets – Scaling up Local Successes Nationwide, in Hanoi on May 27.
Throughout the day, the GREAT programme team and Government
of Vietnam representatives discussed evidence and lessons learned from the
GREAT Programme that can help inform Vietnam’s National Target Programmes
(NTPs) implementation. The NTPs and GREAT both aspire to stronger
socio-economic opportunities in Vietnam’s northwest region, particularly for
the ethnic communities that call the region home.
GREAT is Australia’s most significant gender investment in Vietnam, totalling 33.7
million AUD (24.1 million USD). The programme works with businesses, NGOs,
government and civil society partners to build more inclusive business and
market systems within the agriculture and tourism sectors in Son La and Lao Cai
provinces. It also works to ensure that local women and ethnic minorities
actively participate in and benefit from related economic activities and
The GREAT Programme began in 2017 and is now entering a
second phase which will see the programme extended to 2027.
Nguyen Thanh Hai, from the Project Management Board in Son
La, and Le Hong Phong from the Project Management Board in Lao Cai shared the
experience of delivering GREAT, particularly the lessons learned in relation to
improving the agriculture and tourism sectors while actively working to promote
the economic empowerment of women.
“Over the past five years of implementing GREAT with the
programme team, we have stronger evidence of what works and what needs to be
improved specific to our provincial contexts,” Phong said. “We are now actively
working to increase the participation of women in these sectors as this is good
for women and their families, good for business and good for the economy. We
look forward to applying the lessons from GREAT to the implementation of the
“This success belongs to all GREAT partners – the Provincial
Governments of Son La and Lao Cai, and the businesses, civil society
organisations and communities that GREAT works with,” said the Australian
Ambassador to Vietnam Robyn Mudie.
“Today is an opportunity to look forward with joint ambition
to take this success to scale. Together, we can benefit more businesses through
stronger market connections and, most importantly, empower more women to
participate in these markets,” she added.
Symposium participants also heard from successful women entrepreneurs from the
two provinces, who provided advice on how governments and businesses can better
support women, including those from ethnic minorities, to not only access
economic opportunities, but to thrive in work and business.
On the occasion, GREAT’s business and education partners
provided an update on the establishment of business services and support for
the agriculture and tourism sectors in the northwest, including improved access
to finance, digital inclusion and the availability of market-driven skills training.
The skills of just some of these women were shared with all
in an evening market, cooking show and cultural performances. Symposium
attendees had the opportunity to sample the products, produce and experiences
that the governments, communities and businesses of Son La and Lao Cai aspire
to harness as they pursue inclusive, sustainable economic development./.